As good as closer Edwin Diaz has been this season, his woes in non-save situations continued on Friday night, surrendering a walk-off hit to Nationals catcher Yan Gomes.
Diaz's meltdown was centered around a questionable non-strike call to Juan Soto to start the ninth, which resulted in a walk. From there, Diaz did not retire a batter, allowing back-to-back hits to lose by a score of 1-0.
After the game, the closer expressed his frustration with the call, and believes the home plate umpire got it wrong.
"I think the 3-2 pitch to Soto was a strike," said Diaz. "After that pitch, the inning changed completely."
Although Diaz is notorious for struggling in non-save situations, entering the game with a 5.40 ERA in these scenarios, Mets manager Luis Rojas opted to send him out in the ninth in a scoreless game after Seth Lugo was unable to go another inning after getting the final out of the eighth.
"We bring in what we thought was our top reliever," said Rojas. "With the way he has been pitching lately, we wanted to mow down (Juan) Soto and (Ryan) Zimmerman with the heart of the order, and then have a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the ninth."
Unfortunately, this move ultimately backfired, as the Mets dropped the opening game of their series in D.C.
But it wasn't all on Diaz. The Mets got shutout for the second-straight contest, while also scratching across just two hits for the second-straight game. They've now gone 21 straight innings without scoring a run.
Left-hander Joey Lucchesi was stellar once again, going a season-high 5.1 innings, allowing no runs and four hits, to go along with five strikeouts and two walks.
Lucchesi lowered his ERA on the season to 4.46, producing a 1.19 ERA in his last five starts, following tonight's latest performance.
However, the Amazins' bats were nowhere to be found. They had just six base runners, no extra-base hits, and only one chance with runners in scoring position.
With Dom Smith on second base with two outs in the top of the seventh, catcher Tomas Nido hit a sharp liner, but right at the third baseman Jordy Mercer.
This play got Nationals pitcher Erick Fedde through his outing without giving up a run. The right-hander dominated the Mets' lineup, with seven shutout innings, allowing two hits, with six strikeouts and four walks.
On Saturday, the Mets will play their first-of-three double headers with David Peterson getting the ball in Game 1. Although the second game's starter is still TBA, in all likelihood the Mets will go with an opener, per Rojas.